IC commit takes advantage of summer league

Gil Merod looks forward to next chapter

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The transition from high school baseball to the collegiate level can be a wake-up call for most incoming freshmen, but for former Ithaca High School standout Gil Merod, the college game has come with smooth sailing, as the incoming Ithaca Bomber has made the most of his opportunity with the Syracuse Spartans.

Merod entered the summer and the end of his high school baseball career after a strong senior season with the Little Red, who put together a 14-7 campaign, coming one win shy of a Section IV baseball title.

The numbers that the senior posted throughout his final campaign were undoubtedly exciting for the coaching staff at Ithaca College, the program where Merod has committed to continue his career in the fall. Through the 19 games he played for the Little Red, most of which were spent batting as the second hitter in the order, Merod was efficient at the plate, posting a .355 batting average while reaching base nearly 43% of his plate appearances.

The average numbers came with a stellar run of contact for Merod, as he recorded 22 hits and scored 21 runs, all coupled with the 19 RBI that he contributed to the team’s overall total.

Behind the plate as the catcher for the program, Merod was a gunslinger, accurately picking off would-be base-stealers and unsuspecting lead takers.

With his skilled play shining through, Merod took on a challenge that is often not attempted by high school seniors. He wanted to prepare for his collegiate career by getting the early start with the Spartans in the New York Collegiate Baseball League (NYCBL). While many collegiate summer leagues are often filled with players who have spent at least one season with a collegiate program, the staff in Syracuse offered a roster spot to the promising Merod.

The decision to bring Merod onto the Spartans’ roster was quick to pay dividends, as the recent high school graduate made the most of his plate appearances from the very beginning.

Things started off as good as they could have for Merod, who, in his debut with the Spartans, tallied his first single in a pinch-hitting appearance against the Syracuse Salt Cats. The following game, Merod added to his strong start, picking up two hits in a loss to Rome.

The rhythm would continue for the youngster, as he rattled off hit after hit, including back-to-back two-for-two nights in games against Niagara and Genesee.

Merod is not alone behind the plate for the Spartans, as he is joined by two other catchers, a freshman and a sophomore, but has made the most out of each opportunity that he has had in games this summer.

After this past weekend’s games, Merod, who has played in 16 contests for the Spartans, has posted a .333 batting average, picking up 14 hits in his 42 plate appearances, with 13 singles and a double.

The most impressive part of the performances for Merod is that, while he is experiencing collegiate pitching for the first time, he has recorded just one strikeout.

The offensive production has not come in the form of hits alone, as Merod has also come around to score three times, while driving in a total of seven runs.

With the summer winding down, there is little doubt that Merod is ready to make the jump from Ithaca High School to Ithaca College baseball when the new school year rolls around.

He will be faced with the challenge of entering a program that will be led by a new head coach after George Valesente retired after 41 seasons with the program.

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